by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
It was another beautiful day to practice football. The Giants were back in helmets, shorts and shells. Apparently, yesterday’s hitting in full pads took its toll on a number of players who spent the morning on the stationary bikes. WR Hakeem Nicks and C Shaun O’Hara did not practice.
I caught up with Shaun after the practice and asked him…actually, that’s not true…I was walking off the field and Shaun was behind me, but walking briskly enough to easily overtake me. Anyway, I asked him if he might be practicing this evening. He gave me a non-committal, “We’ll see.”
OT Adam Koets filled in for O’Hara with the first team. It was without incident except for a slightly high shotgun snap to QB Eli Manning. Eli had to double-clutch it, but he still completed his pass to WR Sinorice Moss. Also playing with the starters was OG Kevin Boothe who was filling in at LG for starter Rich Seubert.
C Tutan Reyes, who had been doing an admirable job at LG, was the center for the second team and Tutan proceeded to put two shotgun snaps in a row over QB David Carr’s head. The first snap must have caught Carr by surprise and it landed on the ground. Carr was more prepared on the next snap. He wheeled around and made a nice over the shoulder catch to prevent a turnover.
I know nothing about O’Hara’s condition and one can only speculate about OT Adam Koets learning the center position fast enough to save his job (which according to some people is hanging by a thread). If it turns out that the Giants need to acquire a reasonably talented center, my guess is that they will make a trade.
The Giants have a surplus of talent at tight end, receiver, and other positions. We play Chicago, Carolina, the Jets, and New England in the pre-season. If one of those teams has a surplus of talent at center, maybe a swap can be arranged. If not, maybe we can swap a player for a draft choice and then trade that draft choice for a center on some other team. Unless there is absolutely no talented center available, I do not expect Jerry Reese and Co. to stand pat with a problem at center.
More center news. TE Lee Vickers, who has been having an excellent camp with steady catches and good body control, was practicing punt snaps along with LB Zak DeOssie. Speaking of Lee, on one pass play, the ball and Lee were headed straight at me on the sideline. Lee chased it down and caught it about a yard in bounds. I expected him to lose his footing and come hurtling out of bounds and clobber me. Instead, he kept his feet and was able to turn up field. Yeah, I flinched a little. The other good catch by a TE was made by TE Darcy Johnson, who continues to show that he can be an offensive threat.
The pendulum is beginning to swing back toward the offense. They were no longer getting the bum’s rush from the defense. The quarterbacks were completing a higher percentage of their passes and more importantly, they were completing their passes more easily and in rhythm. Pitch and catch is what I like to see rather than acrobatics. There were still some diving catches and lots of fine defense, but the offense held its own this morning. Even HB Brandon Jacobs easily caught the two passes that were thrown in his direction. He also made an impressively quick sidestep move to his right after getting a handoff from QB Eli Manning.
In the 11 on 11′s, QB Andre’ Woodson dropped back and threw a long TD pass to WR Mario Manningham, who was streaking down the field about 7 yards ahead of the nearest defender. It brought a big cheer from the fans. Woodson being Woodson, threw his next pass to the outside, but WR Domenik Hixon was headed to the inside. Also in the 11 on 11′s, WR Steve Smith was open for a pass over the middle. He juggled Eli’s pass, but he maintained his concentration and secured the ball.
QB David Carr had a much better day today. He put up a long TD pass to WR Ramses Barden who made a graceful leaping catch over a defender and then continued to run to the goal line. It was a fine throw, but the catch was more impressive because it was the type of pass where the receiver usually falls down after leaping. That Barden can run a streak route successfully may come as a surprise to those who thought that he would run fade routes exclusively. Carr also connected with WR Sinorice Moss and WR Derek Hagan, who were both getting open. At the end of the practice the Giants had a red zone drill and Ramses Barden caught a second TD pass. This time it was thrown by Woodson and it was a post pattern rather than a fade.
S Kenny Phillips nearly made a great play when he batted QB Andre’ Woodson’s pass into the air only to have it caught by a diving TE Travis Beckum. Later on, Kenny redeemed himself with an interception when he out-fought WR Domenik Hixon for an Eli Manning pass. CB Corey Webster was also right there in coverage. LB Bryan Kehl didn’t have to fight anyone for his third interception of camp. He jumped a route and cleanly intercepted a David Carr pass.